1. Nobody is in the same boat as you.
Not your mom, not your neighbor and not your partner. Everyone handles quarantine differently. Approach with caution, care and compassion.
2. Everyone’s needs are different.
I’m talking basic needs here. Because everyone is in a different boat, everyone has needs that aren’t anything like yours.
3. Basic needs have to be met first
Refer to the picture above. The bottom section lists your basic needs and these have to be met before you can move to the next rung up. Your basic needs also have to be met before you have a conversation that requires you to focus, respond rationally, etc. Think about when you’re hangry, thirsty, exhausted, or otherwise. Can you focus well? Can you respond in kindness? Can you control your behavior as well as you can when you aren’t all those things?
Additionally, love languages are added in there because if your love tank isn’t full, you aren’t able to put forth 100% effort into your relationship like you would if it were full. Feeling less than full leaves you exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally. Feeling full gives you the ability to overflow onto others. If you aren’t sure what your love language is or how to speak the love language of your spouse, click here and take the quiz.
4. Nobody is a mind reader.
Communicate clearly. “I need….” Check in with your spouse every day. “How can I show up best for you today? How are you feeling? What do you need?” I heard someone say “We’ve been married for a number of years now. At this point, I shouldn’t have to ask for what I need. My partner should just know.” It’s this kind of toxic communication that leads to a dead end on resentment street. You and your partner are both changing constantly. Nobody is a mind reader. You wouldn’t go into a restaurant to eat and feel like the waiter should just know what you want before you order. Don’t expect that of your partner either. Communicate.
5. Be a TEAM player.
The responsibilities at home are 100% yours and 100% your partner’s. This includes housework, yard work and kids. Everyone helps everyone. A relationship is only as strong as weakest partner. If you’re responding to your partner’s request of “I need help” with “What’s in it for me?” (or anything of that regard), you are the weakest link. Everyone pulls their weight, even the kids. If they’re old enough to get it out, they’re old enough to put it away. Help them build a sense of responsibility by making kids put away dishes, take out the trash, sweep or mop the floor.
6. Think BIG Picture.
In the grand scheme of things, does it matter how your spouse loaded the dishwasher or folded the towels? Of course, it isn’t how you would do it but it’s done. Does your making a big deal of it and nit-picking the minor details really matter or is it just going to bring your spouse down and make the environment feel negative and tense?
7. Communication is key.
Should the need arise to complain about a behavior, make sure you’re doing just that. Complaining, not criticizing. Complaints focus on the behavior. “Can you fill the car up with gas after you use it please? It leaves me pressed for time if I have to do it in the mornings.” Criticizing focuses on the person’s character “You never fill the car up with gas! You’re so selfish to leave it for me to do!”
Think about the Golden Rule here. If you turn your communication back on yourself (58% body language, 35% tone of voice, 7% words used) how would you feel on the receiving end? Treat your partner as you’d want to be treated. They’re a human you love after all.
If you need a good app for communicating to-do lists, grocery lists, kids events, basically anything that would be the control station of your family- COZI is amazing. Not an ad, just what we use as a family. I love it because it even color coordinates who’s events are what and emails you in the mornings to say “hey! This is what your day looks like.” It’s free and fantastic.
8. Have your own routine.
Set your to-do list the night before, get up and do what you would do if you weren’t in a quarantine situation. Go for a run, make breakfast, clean, have your morning routine. Do whatever you need to do to be productive for yourself. You’ll feel so much more accomplished in doing this.
9. Take time for yourself each day.
The absolute best thing that my family has done in all of this is starting our day off by ourselves. We each go to our own spaces, by ourselves and we read, journal, write, do yoga, meditate, study, paint, draw, listen to music or whatever we feel like doing for 1-2 hours every morning. I’ve always got my sunflower butter and banana toast, my coffee, my journal and the latest book. My husband is usually studying for one of his classes. My son takes my laptop and goes to do his online school lessons for the day. When we emerge, we are better humans who appreciate each other versus wanting to punch each other in the face. We are already productive and we have our sanity. We don’t feel smothered and it is simply GLORIOUS. Many people have talked to me about being at their wits end in the past few weeks. Do you know what the common denominator is? Not having time to themselves every single day.
One of my trademark moves in coaching any couple is to make them start a gratitude journal and out of the 10 things they write down every day, 3 of them have to be about their spouse. When you are grateful, you’re focus on being grateful grows. When you’re negative about your spouse, you’re only thinking more negatively about your spouse. Grow your mindset and include a gratitude practice for your spouse each day. Share what you’re grateful for with them. It will build them up and make them more grateful for you too! Total win for both!
These are all things that are tried and true with my spouse. I can honestly say that my husband and I have been quarantined together now since March 9. He’s taken 3 trips that were quick turns (1 flight somewhere and back the same day) in that time. Otherwise, we’ve been home together, the whole family. In that time, we’ve had two small arguments. The first was because taxes are stressful and something that literally nobody wants to deal with. The second was a total miscommunication because of the language barrier. Trust me when I tell you that this list works and it also makes an unfortunate time that you can’t control a lot more enjoyable! If you find that your relationship is struggling and you need even more help, I have opened my schedule for 2 couples to have 1:1 coaching. You can find more info on that here.